Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

UNESCO proclams Montreal " World Book Capital City "

Koïchiro Matsuura, Directeur général de l’UNESCO, Paris le 26 avril 2005 – 2005/04/26

UNESCO has proclaimed Montreal “ World Book Capital City”, from April 23, 2005 through April 22, 2006. On April 26, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, praised the choice of Montreal during a party held at UNESCO’s head office in Paris. This party, organized by UNESCO, Canada’s Permanent Delegation, the General Delegation of Québec in Paris and the city of Montréal, brought together authors and artists as well as important individuals from the cultural, diplomatic and political spheres, and echoed the launch in Montreal of this year devoted to reading.

Present at the ceremony in Paris, Québec’s Minister of International Relations, Ms. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, highlighted the importance of all the artisans working together in the so-called “book chain” (writers, essayists, editors) in Québec and elsewhere, after first congratulating the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres du Québec and its partners for submitting a portfolio, which was able to meet the requirements of UNESCO and catch the eye of the selection committee: “In Québec, publishing is bursting with energy (…). Nevertheless, our publishers continue to face the difficulties of international distribution. Unfortunately, distribution strength is extremely imbalanced throughout the world.” This is why, reminds the minister, Québec is so strongly committed to adopting, as early as 2005, aConvention on protecting the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions, for which a vast majority of States and governments are hoping and praying, because, she maintains, this convention is necessary for guaranteeing the rights of States and governments to support culture in their societies. Specifically, the minister reiterated to the Director-General of UNESCO the interest of Québec’s government in UNESCO and the importance of having a Convention, which must be on equal footing with the other legal instruments and that has an effective monitoring and dispute resolution mechanism, adopted by the next conference, scheduled for October 2005: “ Québec believes that an effective convention must also recognize the dual nature of cultural goods and services. We also feel that this convention must be on equal footing with all other legal instruments, including trade agreements, and be paired with an effective monitoring and dispute resolution mechanism . Furthermore, we believe that this convention must strengthen international cooperation and solidarity so that everyone takes part in reciprocal exchanges of culture.” [05-12]